Rehberg Games: Cartwheels Over Cancer Screening

Day 4: August 2, 2012

Too Little, Too Late

As a former gymnast, Congressman Rehberg is no stranger to controversial cartwheels.  After 35 years in politics, Congressman Rehberg’s priorities are out of touchand wrong for Montana. Today’s Rehberg Games examines the Congressman’s latest attempt to cover up his irresponsible decisions.

WARM-UP: Rehberg tells Montanans he supports federal funding for cancer

Congressman Rehberg claims he is a “strong supporter of funding for cancer research, control and prevention.” [, accessed 8/2/2012]

DISMOUNT: Rehberg consistently tries to wipe out Title X cancer screenings—while protecting tax breaks for millionaires.

As chairman of a congressional committee that oversees federal health spending, Rehberg has tried three times in the past 18 months to completely eliminate Title X (H.R. 1, 2011 appropriations proposal, 2012 Appropriations bill).  Title X is a popular initiative that provides cancer screenings and other life-saving health services to tens of thousands of Montana women and men every year.  Montana is home to 26 Title X clinics.

Just last month, the American Cancer Society slammed Rehberg’ unpopular budget proposal that wipes out Title X again.

“People with cancer and their families are disappointed that appropriators in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to flat line cancer research and eliminate funding for critical programs that would improve access to chronic disease prevention and treatment in the FY 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill.” [American Cancer Society Action Network, 7/18/12]

In fact, Rehberg has a long record of voting against cancer funding while supporting tax breaks for fellow millionaires:

Rehberg Opposed Health Care Coverage Protections for Cancer & Diabetes. In 2005, Rehberg voted against a proposal to maintain state coverage mandates on a variety of medical treatments. The proposal would have maintained state coverage protections for pregnancy, child care, breast and cervical cancer screening, mental illness and diabetes. The proposal was defeated 198-230.  [HR 525, Vote 425, 7/26/05; CQ Vote Report #425, 2005]

Rehberg Opposed Protections for Breast Cancer Patients. In 2004, Rehberg voted against a motion that would have required the Association Health Plan legislation to prohibit plans that allow reductions in breast cancer coverage. The motion was defeated 196-218. [HR 4281, Vote 173, 5/13/04]

Rehberg Voted for Budget That Cuts $1.6 Billion from the National Institutes of Health –Portion Of Which Would Go to National Cancer Institute. In February 2011, Rehberg voted for the Republican Continuing Resolution that targets $1.6 billion to come out of the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). And a healthy portion of those cuts seems headed for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which funds and conducts ground-breaking research into the disease that kills more Americans than any other. [HR 1, Vote 147, 2/19/11; Yahoo News, 3/01/11]

  • Former NIH Director: Cuts Will Translate Into Severe Curtailment of Grants Into Cancer Research.Harold Varmus, a former NIH director and the winner of a Nobel Prize for Medicine, who now runs NCI, told Politics Daily that the projected cuts will translate into fewer grants to scientists doing the basic research that could help us win the war against cancer. “The number of new grants gets severely curtailed even with a 2-to-4 percent [funding] reduction,” Varmus said. [Yahoo News, 3/01/11]
  • Cuts Would Send “Shock Waves” Through Cancer Research Community.As Politics Daily puts it: “Even a $300-million cut in funding would send shock waves through the nation’s cancer research community.” [Yahoo News, 3/01/11]